I’m having quite the Stephen King renaissance. And I’m doing so without having read very much of his work for a while…
But I’m planning to. I’ve been planning to for a while. And I’m on the verge of just diving right back in.
Okay, rewind – I wrote about King a while back as one of the Authors I Admire. And I wrote that a while back, and it was based around the memories I had of falling under his spell when I was a teenager. The books It and Carrie and Needful Things and Gerald’s Game and many others – the short story collections, the “Bachman” books, the works…
And then I just stopped reading King.
I don’t even know why. Just couldn’t keep up. And had other things to catch up on – The Beats, several worlds of poetry, contemporary Kiwi authors, so many classics across so many genres. And music books. Music books. Music books. Also biographies across all sorts of subjects.
And when reading wasn’t in the way. Life was.
But I kept watching most of the adaptations of King’s books. There were big deal ones in the mid-90s and into the 00s (Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile) and there were lesser ones that I still felt I had to see (Dolores Claiborne, 1408).
The last book I read by King was probably On Writing. And it’s a great bit of non-fiction. Part memoir, part writing manual. A textbook – and a must-have for writers. But it hums along like the best of his fiction.
And that was that until in 2013 King released a Kindle Single essay called “Guns”. More non-fiction.
In my time away from reading King, the books just kept piling up. And it seemed daunting. Not that you have to read everything. And not that I even could now…
But I had so many of his books that I hadn’t read – sitting there on my shelf – I ended up giving them away. Had to get them out of the house. They went to a good home.
And that was that. I thought.
Until, out of nowhere – I got hooked again. Absolutely hooked.
I don’t know how it started – but it was probably the mini-series of It. That brought back such nostalgia. I watched it – twice – with my son. And then I was off. Rewatching all sorts of things (The Shining, Misery) and catching up with things I had missed (The Mist).
And then I started listening to The KingCast.
And I was hooked really quickly on that. Episodes on the trot. Listening to people re-living their love of King. Listening to people obsessing over story-details and their origin-story, how they first connected and what’s kept them in the fold.
Now I’ve got TWO King podcasts on the go – finally going all in on The Loser’s Club, three-hour episodes (sometimes longer) on every book, in chronological order, with some bonus eps for movie adaptations.
And I also – finally – read the book Misery. And loved it.
I bought his brand new book – Billy Summers – as if in some way I also bought myself the time to read it. I am currently reading the graphic novel adaptation of The Stand, because I also recently re-purchased a copy of The Stand, then realised I’d almost certainly never read that novel again. Even though I loved it so much. And didn’t mind the recent mini-series.
Look, so here it is – and I only just realised this…I’m back to living my teenage life. In terms of hobbies.
It started last year.
I started listening to reggae again – for the first time in ages. Got super hooked on horror movies once again. And movie soundtracks.
At 45, I am 15 again.
And when I was 15 Stephen King was the greatest. And it feels like, after time apart, I’m back to thinking that, feeling that. And starting, finally, to be reading all that again.